FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. and WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Where does your student do his or her homework? Kitchen table, bedroom floor, on the sofa in front of the TV, or does it change daily?
Having a dedicated study space can help students focus and work more efficiently. This summer, take time to prepare for the school year by setting up a study space for your student.
First, scope out the space. It doesn’t have to be large; it just has to work well for your student’s needs. Find a corner of a room that can accommodate a small desk. It can even be your kitchen table; allow your student to “reserve” the space each day from 4 to 6 p.m., for example.
The space should be:
- Distraction free. No smartphones, TVs, or other devices that will invite a student to jump off-task. Set “study hours” around the space so that other family members know not to distract the student at work.
- Well-lit. A task light for reading or writing is important.
- Comfortable. Computers and chairs should be set at a comfortable height so that typing feels natural. A wrist rest is useful if your student does a lot of typing. The chair should be supportive and inviting; no one wants to work in an uncomfortable chair. Discomfort is a distraction. Find a desk that fits your student’s size and needs. A student desk can often be scored on Craigslist or at a school that’s spending their summer clearing out unused items. Ikea sells a number of desks for less than $100.
- Temperature controlled. If a student is too hot or too cold, it can affect his or her work. Ideally, set up shop near a window that can be opened or closed, or have a small fan that can be used as needed.
- Stocked with tools. Pens, pencils, calculator, protractor: Whatever it is that students need to do their work, make sure it’s all at hand and organized in a way that makes sense to them.
- Block social media — temporarily. Set up your working computer with an app that blocks certain websites during study time. Such apps include Cold Turkey, Anti-Social, or SelfControl. Students can add in whatever sites they know are going to be distractions for them.
Setting up a special work station is a great way to get your student excited about the upcoming school year —and it sends the message that their work is important. Let us know in the comments how you’ve set up study spaces!
Michelle Sagalyn is founder and president of Successful Study Skills 4 Students, LLC.